A short while ago during one of our Spear Study Club meetings, I interrupted Dr. Frank Spear’s module on “Patient Goals in the Comprehensive Exam” when I realized the tables were turning. I wanted to share some thoughts with my club members.
I stopped the presentation and there was a collective pause. All eyes were on me.
“I want you all to know that I am a has-been,” I divulged to the study club group.
I saw puzzled looks on faces. Not only do I lead this study club, but I also mentor some members, as well. Where was I going with this?
I continued, “I am not the future of dentistry but all of you are. I have been practicing dentistry for 40 years. In 10 years, I will not be practicing dentistry, but you will. Most of you have many years left to grow and learn and be on the cutting edge of dentistry. Isn’t that why you are a part of this group?”
I didn’t lose anyone’s attention, so I continued.
“All of you realized at some point in time that there needed to be more to your growth and education as a practitioner and a person. You found Spear Education.”
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” -Carol Burnett
“Some of you have taken seminars, but your real growth will occur when you take hands on workshops,” I told my club members. “You will get feedback on your work and encouragement of your thought process from mentors. Then it is time to incorporate what you have learned into the daily routine of your practice. You have to be a good leader and develop your vision for the future. Your team, your patients and your family depend upon it.”
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” -Confucius
We went back to the module and spent the rest of the evening discussing the topic at hand.
At the end of the meeting, I shared what I say to the GPR residents I lecture to:
“I remember when I was the resident sitting around the conference table listening to the old guy speak. I hope one day all of you get an opportunity to be that old guy speaking.”
Afterwards, both in person and by email, I heard how that little tangent conversation was eye-opening. One of the gifts dentistry has given me is the opportunity to help others. I feel confident that our profession will continue to shine when I see that there are many who want it to do so.
I have had my day in the sun. It is now time for you to shine.
I have worked my entire life to become a “has-been.”
Good luck on your journey. May it lead you to treasures you could have never imagined.
Carl E. Steinberg, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., L.L.S.R. (www.DentistryinPhiladelphia.com ) is a member of Spear Visiting Faculty and a contributor to Spear Digest.